Saturday, 11 October 2008

In proper context

"From the fourth century onwards, there took place what some have termed the paganizing of the church. It adopted beliefs and practices that were wholly alien to the Gospel".

Jacques Ellul

"Be on your guard against the ferment, the teaching, of these men".


Last month, new evidence was released that a certain chemical used in common plastic items, including water bottles, can under certain conditions leach into the contents of the plastic container and end up within our bodies, causing a much higher likelihood of heart problems or cancer.
The very items we use everyday to help us keep healthy could in fact be responsible for major health problems and deaths, all because there is a fault with the container the 'healthy' product is provided in.

The same is so abundantly true regarding the very nature of the Christian church.

Why is it that the essential message of fundamental freedom (the redemption in Christ that once again allows us to love God and each other) is so buried beneath an unbearable weight of provisos and conditions which are strenuously advocated amongst the various 'traditions' (ancient or modern) in the majority of variations in Christendom? Why would an Apostle like Paul once again find himself standing almost alone if here today because of his bold and clear affirmation not only of the Gospel itself, but of the ramifications regarding Christian liberty, now so rigorously deemed 'outside' the remit of 'piety' assumed and shored-up within the niche of most churches?

The answer is because we have so often been told to avoid the plain statements of Christ and His Apostles and to place confidence in the leaching of folly into the instruction of leaders and institutions - poison which makes us numbed and dulled to the real power and nature of the vital Christian life.

Dualistic and Gnostic 'purity' has murdered our faith for centuries, and it must be denounced as the dark mesmerism which defrauds so many into swallowing whole a mime, a hideous and hollow imitation of a faith which wishes to drive deep into our flesh, our deeds, in a fashion that reveals mere external 'display' as a toxic, malevolent mantle.

The requirement of our generation, as we fast approach another anniversary of Luther's issuing of a thesis toward liberty, is to recognize the true responsibility of Christian discipleship, to stand sure in the freedom we have, and to teach and live from within that freedom, never again giving ourselves to the horror of dead religion.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Wonderful post! Well said, Howard!

Wherever there is trouble within the church, it usually revolves around the issue of freedom, and someone's wanting to take more of it away from us.